Convert Your Outlook Emails to Plain Text for Easy Storage

Save a Microsoft Outlook email as a file for backup purposes

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If you like to save your Microsoft Outlook emails to a file, use Outlook to convert the message to plain text (with the .TXT file extension) first and then store the file on your computer, flash drive, or anywhere else you like. Once your email is in a plain text document, open it with any text editor, such as Notepad in Windows, Notepad++, TextEdit on Macs, or Microsoft Word. It's easy to copy the text from the message, share it with others, or store the file as a backup.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

How to Save Outlook Emails to a File

When you save email to a file with Outlook, you can save only one email or multiple emails to one text file. All the messages are combined into one document.

Convert your Outlook messages to text and send a plain text message in Outlook without graphics.

  1. In the Message list, select the message you want to save. To save multiple messages to one text file, press Ctrl and select the messages.

    Viewing the inbox in Outlook.
  2. Go to File > Save As. (In Outlook 2007, go to the Office button and select Save As.)

    File menu displaying the save settings.
  3. In the Save As dialog box, navigate to the folder where you want to save the file.

  4. Select the Save as type drop-down arrow and choose Text Only or Text Only (*.txt).

    When you save a single message, you'll find options to save the email to an MSG, OFT, HTML/HTM, or MHT file, but none of these formats are plain text.

    Saving an email as a different format.
  5. In the File name text box, enter a name for the file.

    Saving the email as a text file.
  6. Select Save to save the email to a file.

If multiple emails are saved in one file, the separate emails are not sectioned; they run together. Look at the header and body of each message to find where one starts and the other ends.

Other Ways to Save Outlook Emails to a File

If you need to save messages often, there are alternatives to saving a message as a text file. For example:

To open an MHT file with MS Word, go to File > Open, select the All Word Documents drop-down arrow, and choose All Files so that you can browse and open the MHT file.

To save an Outlook message to a different kind of file is possible with a free file converter.

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